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What’s New in the Base NFT Scene?

Why Base is a force to be reckoned with in NFTs
William M. Peaster William M. Peaster Mar 12, 20247 min read
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What’s New in the Base NFT Scene?

One of the biggest success stories in our space right now is Base. 

A Layer 2 (L2) scaling solution incubated by crypto exchange giant Coinbase, Base has surged and become home to one of the fastest-growing app scenes in the cryptoeconomy in short order, having publicly launched in August 2023. 

That said, this blooming has helped Base foster a teeming NFT scene that already rivals that of virtually every other L1 and L2. 

For today’s post, then, let’s check up on the pulse of Base and survey its contemporary NFT landscape to get a feel for what’s possible here and what could be coming in the months ahead. 


The pulse of Base

With over $1.3B USD in total value locked (TVL), more than 1.3M monthly active users, and hundreds of apps deployed, Base is among the largest and most teeming networks in the cryptoeconomy today. 

Much of this activity comes from Base’s already robust DeFi scene, but a considerable portion of it stems from the L2’s rising NFT ecosystem. 

So far, the network has facilitated the minting of +95M NFTs, putting it in the top 4 chains for total NFTs created to date behind only Polygon, Ethereum, and Solana. Additionally, Base is currently accounting for ~6% of all NFT transactions on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) chains. 


The main pillars of Base

The growth of Base has been buoyed by two main tech pillars: Coinbase’s umbrella of infra offerings and the OP Stack. 

Of course, the main Coinbase exchange platform is among the oldest and most trusted in crypto, boasting millions of global users. Combine this port of entry with Coinbase Wallet and smart wallets, and you get arguably the best onchain on-ramping avenue in existence today. 

Indeed, over this most recent bear market, I onboarded a handful of family and friends to crypto via Base. In transferring directly from Coinbase to Base, they skipped the time and costs of bridging from the Ethereum L1 and were able to dive straight into apps. 

Additionally, in being an L2 built on Optimism’s OP Stack “Superchain” tech, Base offers fast and cheap UX and is interoperable with, and downstream of, Ethereum’s and Optimism’s advances. For example, when Ethereum activates EIP-4844 in the Dencun upgrade tomorrow, Optimism plans to quickly implement it, a move that will help ax gas costs on Base by as much as 98% in some cases. 

This UX foundation and its prospects for even further improvement is a big deal. 

Anecdotally speaking, the people I onboarded to crypto this cycle found the Coinbase Wallet + Base experience virtually indistinguishable from the Phantom + Solana experience, and Solana is famed for its fast and cheap transactions. As Base continues to evolve, it can become that much more dominant in the DeFi and NFT app scenes.


An overview of the Base NFT ecosystem

The Base team has created a great initial platform for facilitating and actualizing onchain enterprises of all sorts. Some of the key projects building in and around the early Base NFT ecosystem today are as follows. 

Wallets 👛

Coinbase Wallet, Rainbow, and MetaMask have become leading choices for many Base users, and Rabby Wallet has gained traction here recently, too. 

Privy’s embedded wallets and easy login system have also proven key to growing Base’s early mobile apps scene, with pioneering users like friend.tech and FrenPet.

Safe now offers multisig deployments on Base as well, which is great for personal or collective treasury security, and there are also portfolio hubs like DeBankZapper, and Zerion for tracking assets across Base and other networks simultaneously. 

Bridges 🌉

Many people bridge into Base directly from Coinbase, which is the cheapest and fastest way to do so. 

There is also the main Base Bridge for those interested in transferring ETH or stablecoins from Ethereum. Deposits are relatively fast, but this canonical bridge enforces a 7-day withdrawal period as a security measure. 

There are third-party alternatives here that offer fast deposits and fast withdrawals, though. Some of the standouts among these providers include Across ProtocolBungeeCeler Network’s cBridgeConnext, and Hop Protocol.

DAOs 🧱

The Base ecosystem has a growing array of tooling for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), like AragonNouns BuilderParty, and Tally, which all offer ways to deploy and manage onchain collectives on the L2.

For example, Based Management, a DAO deployed via Nouns Builder, has spun up its own Party to collect Base assets, from ERC-20s like $DEGEN to NFTs like BasePaint open editions, as a group. 

On the periphery of these main solutions are additional resources like Prop House and JokeRace that make it easy for onchain collectives to deploy funds within their communities atop Base. 

Marketplaces 🛒

OpenSea is a notable early adopter of Base and has become a hub for secondary markets around the L2’s NFTs. Another rising force here is Reservoir, which offers a Base NFT API so that other platforms can create their own Base NFT marketplaces. 

On the NFTfi (NFTs x DeFi) side of things, sudoswap allows creating or trading through liquidity pools of Base NFTs, with onchain enforcement of royalties. Another project to keep in mind is Astaria, a marketplace for crypto loans on Base that recently facilitated its first NFT-based loan.

As for trading fungible ERC-20 tokens that are associated with NFT projects, Uniswap’s Base deployment is a main avenue. For example, the AdWorld team just released Ape In, a DN-404 PFP collection on Base that automatically drops an NFT to your wallet upon purchasing 1 $APEIN token on Uniswap. 

Art 🎨

Base has an impressive constellation of creator-centric platforms. 

Zora is the most notable do-it-yourself minting platform here today, but new contenders like Highlight, which just facilitated the largest generative art collection ever, and mint.fun, an NFT collecting and creator hub, are also ones to watch. On the music front, Sound and Catalog Radio are early Base standouts. 

More experimental projects also abound in the Base creative scene, like BasePaint (collective pixel art), Hypersub (NFT-based subscriptions), meme.market (memecoin + memes creator hub), and TITLES (an AI-friendly remixer app).

Social 📱

Farcaster has taken the crypto social scene by storm this year, and the /base channel on Warpcast, the leading Farcaster app, has become the largest on the platform with +120k followers. 

Beyond Warpcast becoming a huge conversation center for the Base community, the app’s slick UX and the recent Farcaster Frames rollout have made it a major center for minting activity on Base, too. Aux Aubres by Zancan, which just became the largest gen-art collection minted to date, was able to become as big as it is largely thanks to the Base + Warpcast + Frames combo, making the minting process so easy and so open.

Web3 publishing platforms like Mirror and Paragraph also support Base mints and Frames, so we’ve recently seen a growing number of blog posts being collected on the L2 via Warpcast. 

A couple of other miscellaneous projects to watch right now are Bountycaster (a web3 gigs platform) and Unlonely (livestreams + NFT clips). 

Gaming 🎮

Another promising area for Base is its gaming scene. The biggest player here currently is the sci-fi trading card game Parallel, which has many of its cards as NFTs on Base. The team is also exploring creating a Layer 3 (L3) on top of Base for its AI game, Parallel Colony.

As for more experimental titles, the aforementioned FrenPet, a Tamagotchi-style adventure game that recently released its V3, is an early standout here. Other upstart efforts to watch include Land, Labor, Capital (LLC)speedtracer, and YONK by Small Brain.


The future of the Base NFT ecosystem

From infra to gaming and everything in between, the early Base NFT scene has a little bit of everything, and this foundation is already way more teeming and varied than what most L1s and L2s have to offer around NFTs.  

The Base team’s mission is to onboard +1B people onchain, and the rising appeal of NFT use cases combined with Coinbase’s offerings and the OP Stack makes this mission seem realistically achievable over the next decade or two. 

Of course, Base hasn’t even passed its first birthday yet, so it will evolve much further from here. The next of these evolutions will happen tomorrow when proto-danksharding arrives via EIP-4844, drastically dropping gas costs for Base transactions. Later, the arrival of full danksharding will cut these costs even further. 

As gas costs trend toward zero accordingly and new L3s are built atop Base, we’re poised to see an incredible boom of NFT experiments and cross-pollination of ideas that weren’t possible before. And with Base decentralizing and advancing toward maturity, the L2’s already impressive NFT scene seems ripe for continued growth going forward.

William M. Peaster

Written by William M. Peaster

630 Articles View all      

William M. Peaster, Senior Writer, has been with Bankless since January 2021. Immersed in Ethereum since 2017, he writes the Metaversal newsletter on the onchain frontier, covering everything from AI projects to crypto games, as the team’s lead NFT analyst. With a background in creative writing, he writes fiction and publishes art on Ethereum in his free time. He lives in Washington.

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